Shulman’s successor

According to Charles S. Clark, (article in Government Executive, April 11, 2012), the IRS is likely to get a temporary successor. Due to the fact that IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman’s term ends the same month as the elections, it is highly unlikely that Obama will appoint a successor in the event he does not win the election.

From the article (link below):

There is apparently ” a long-used process is in place for an acting commissioner to be named. Indeed, there have been 26 acting commissioners since the agency was created in 1862.

The question is not whether there will be an acting commissioner, but for how long,” Kerr said.

If past is precedent, the most likely acting commissioner would be either of the two current deputy commissioners: Steven T. Miller, who handles services and enforcement, or Beth Tucker, who oversees operations support.

Miller is a specialist in tax-exempt organizations and pensions who joined the IRS in 1993 after stints with Congress’ Joint Taxation Committee and in private practice. Tucker has held a variety of IRS jobs, including director of workforce initiatives.

Trinca said Miller “is very capable and well thought-of — kind of a mixture of outsider and insider.” Regardless of who assumes the acting commissioner job, Washington’s “shenanigans” of policy zigzags “will force the IRS to guess what Congress is going to do, which is difficult for the agency” as it prepares for the filing season in early 2013, he said. “

Marcus Owens, an attorney with Caplin & Drysdale who was formerly director of the IRS’ exempt organizations division, agreed the agency “has a deep bench in terms of management, with only two political appointees, so it will deal with Shulman’s departure without any issues.”

He added, “historically, the commissioners have been apolitical.” The interesting question, he said, is whether the administration selects someone in the community of seasoned tax professionals. That used to be the case, Owens said, but the past three — Shulman, Charles Rossotti and Everson — came from other fields.

“The confirmation process is so brutal that people are wary of it, [and presidents] haven’t been going for Washington types for a long time,” Owens said. The commissioner comes “under a lot of scrutiny and a lot of grief. It’s one of the toughest jobs the world for people who earn half of what they would make in the private sector.”

So the question now is, who are these people? I haven’t found much on Beth Tucker other than a lot of comments reqarding what the IRS has been doing to protect taxpayers from Identity Theft. It looks like she has been with IRS for 28 years and has worked her way up in the organization. Interesting that the article doesn’t mention a thing about her but describes Miller’s background. He apparently is a tax lawyer.

No matter who ends up as temporary commissioner, I think we can expect more of the same level of confusion, lack of clear guidance on what IRS will do to try and deal with this mess and an even bigger dis-connect with Congress unless the IRS gets the funding it needs to carry out it’s mandate.

On a side-note, apparently Shulman’s tenure is generally considered a success. This article largely discusses the improvements in the technology aspect of IRS’ issues; I don’t see a word about the “success” in the overseas compliance area. Wonder why?